Spiritual Native American Symbols and Meanings

Native Americans have a rich and diverse cultural heritage that spans thousands of years. One of the most fascinating aspects of their culture is their use of symbols to express their beliefs, values, and spirituality.

In this article, I will explore some of the most common Native American symbols and their meanings, as well as how you can use them in your life.

Spiritual Native American Symbols and Meanings

What are Native American Symbols?

Native American symbols are visual representations of concepts, ideas, or messages that are important to the Native American people.

They can be found in various forms, such as paintings, carvings, pottery, clothing, jewelry, tattoos, and more.

Native American symbols can be used to communicate with others, honor ancestors or deities, to invoke protection or healing, to celebrate ceremonies or rituals, or to express personal identity or spirituality.

The Origin and History of Native American Symbols

Native American symbols have a long and complex history that dates back to prehistoric times. The earliest evidence of Native American symbols can be found in rock art, such as petroglyphs (carved images) and pictographs (painted images), that are scattered across North America.

These ancient symbols often depict animals, humans, geometric shapes, or abstract patterns that have various meanings depending on the context and the culture.

As Native Americans developed more sophisticated societies and cultures, they also developed more elaborate and diverse systems of symbols.

Some of the most well-known examples are the hieroglyphs of the Maya, the kachina dolls of the Hopi, the wampum belts of the Iroquois, and the totem poles of the Northwest Coast.

These symbols reflect the different languages, religions, histories, and worldviews of each tribe or nation.

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The Purpose and Meaning of Native American Symbols

Native American symbols have multiple purposes and meanings that can vary depending on the tribe, region, time period, and situation. However, some general themes can be identified across different cultures. For example:

  • Native American symbols often reflect a deep connection and respect for nature and all living beings. Many symbols represent animals, plants, elements, seasons, or celestial bodies that have spiritual significance or symbolic attributes.
  • Native American symbols often express a sense of harmony and balance between opposites or complementary forces. Many symbols depict dualities, such as life and death, male and female, light and dark, or earth and sky, that are essential for the creation and maintenance of the universe.
  • Native American symbols often convey a sense of wisdom and guidance from ancestors or higher powers. Many symbols represent spirits, deities, heroes, or ancestors that have special roles or abilities in the cosmology or mythology of each culture. These symbols can be used to seek advice, protection, healing, or inspiration from these entities.

What are Some Common Native American Symbols and Their Meanings?

There are hundreds of Native American symbols that have different meanings for different tribes or regions. However, some symbols are more widely recognized or shared by many cultures.

Here are some examples of common Native American symbols and their meanings:

Animal symbols

Animals are one of the most prevalent themes in Native American symbolism. Animals are revere as spirit guides, teachers, protectors, or companions that can help humans navigate through life’s challenges and opportunities.

Each animal has its own personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, and lessons that can be learne from them. Some of the most common animal symbols are:


The bear is a symbol of strength, courage, protection, and leadership. Bears are considered to be the guardians of the animal kingdom and are respected for their power and intelligence.

Bears can also represent healing, as they are associated with medicine men or shamans who use bear claws or fur in their rituals. Some tribes believe that bears have a special connection with humans and can shape-shift into human form.


The bison is a symbol of abundance, prosperity, gratitude, and sacrifice. Bison were the main source of food, clothing, and shelter for many Native American tribes, especially those who lived in the plains.

Bison were also considered to be sacred animals that gave their lives willingly to sustain the people. Some tribes performed ceremonies or dances to honor the bison and to ensure their continued survival.

Bighorn Sheep

The bighorn sheep is a symbol of agility, endurance, creativity, and growth. Bighorn sheep are admire for their ability to climb steep cliffs and mountains with ease and grace.

They are also know for their curved horns that keep growing throughout their lives, symbolizing mental activity and innovation. Some tribes believe that bighorn sheep can help humans overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

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Nature Symbols

Nature is another major theme in Native American symbolism. as a living and sacred entity that provides humans with everything they need to survive and thrive.


The feather is a symbol of lightness, freedom, spirituality, and communication. Feathers are considered to be gifts from birds, who are messengers between the earth and the sky.

Feathers can also represent the breath or the soul of a person or an animal. Some tribes use feathers for ceremonial purposes, such as smudging, praying, or blessing.

Arrow and Arrowhead

The arrow and the arrowhead are symbols of direction, protection, power, and skill. Arrows are used for hunting and warfare, as well as for marking territories or boundaries.

Arrowheads are the pointed tips of arrows that can pierce through enemies or obstacles. Some tribes wear or carry arrowheads as talismans to ward off evil or to absorb the strength of their foes.


The sunflower is a symbol of happiness, vitality, fertility, and loyalty. Sunflowers are know for their bright yellow petals that resemble the sun and their ability to follow the sun’s movement across the sky.

Sunflowers are also useful plants that provide seeds, oil, dye, and medicine. Some tribes regard sunflowers as the fourth sister among the three sisters: corn, beans, and squash.


The sun is a symbol of life, energy, warmth, and illumination. The sun is the most important celestial body for many Native American cultures, as it regulates the seasons, the crops, and the daily activities.

spiritual enlightenment and guidance, as it reveals the truth and dispels the darkness. Some tribes worship the sun as a supreme deity or a creator.

How to Use Native American Symbol for Life?

How to Use Native American Symbol for Life?

Native American symbols are not only beautiful and meaningful but also practical and relevant for modern life. You can use Native American symbols in your life to enhance your personal growth, well-being, and connection with nature and spirit.

Here are some ways you can use Native American symbols in your life:

Respect the Culture and Traditions of Native Americans

Before you use any Native American symbol in your life, you should first learn about its origin, history, meaning, and context. You should also respect the culture and traditions of Native Americans who created or used these symbols.

You should not appropriate or misuse these symbols for your own benefit or entertainment without acknowledging or honoring their source. also, avoid using symbols that are sacred or restricted to certain tribes or groups.

Find Your Spirit Animal or Totem

One of the most popular ways to use Native American symbols in your life is to find your spirit animal or totem. A spirit animal or totem is an animal that represents your personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, talents, or challenges.

A spirit animal or totem can also guide you through different situations or stages in your life. You can find your spirit animal or totem by observing which animals you feel drawn to or encounter frequently in your dreams or reality.

You can also take online quizzes or consult books or experts to help you find your spirit animal or totem.

Wear or Display Native American Symbols as Jewelry or Art

Another way to use Native American symbols in your life is to wear or display them as jewelry or art. You can choose symbols that resonate with you or that have a specific meaning or purpose for you.

For example, you can wear a feather necklace to express your spirituality or communication skills; you can wear an arrowhead pendant to protect yourself from harm or negativity; you can wear a sunflower ring to attract happiness or fertility; or you can wear a sun pendant to boost your energy or confidence.

You can also display Native American symbols as paintings, sculptures, carvings, pottery, or other forms of art in your home or office to create a positive and inspiring atmosphere.


The world of Spiritual Native American Symbols and Meanings a tapestry woven with history, spirituality, and cultural wisdom. These symbols transcend time, connecting us with the ancient traditions of indigenous peoples.

By exploring their meanings and embracing their significance, we can gain a deeper understanding of our shared humanity and the interconnectedness of all life.

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What is the significance of Native American symbols?

Native American symbols are an integral part of their culture and spirituality. These symbols have been passe down from generation to generation and hold deep meanings that are still relevant today.

What are some common Native American symbols?

Some common Native American symbols include the Medicine Wheel, Dreamcatcher, Thunderbird, Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Turtle, Feather, Arrow, Tipi, and Kokopelli.

What is the Medicine Wheel?

The Medicine Wheel is a Native American symbol that represents the circle of life and the interconnectedness of all things. It is divide into four directions, each with its own meaning and symbolism.

What is the Dreamcatcher?

The Dreamcatcher is a Native American symbol that is believe to catch bad dreams and allow good dreams to pass through. It is often use as a protective talisman.

What is the Thunderbird?

The Thunderbird is a Native American symbol that represents power and strength. It is often associate with thunder and lightning and is a prominent figure in Native American mythology.

What is the Eagle?

The Eagle is a Native American symbol that represents freedom, courage, and strength. It is often use as a symbol of protection and is a sacred animal in many Native American cultures.

What is the Bear?

The Bear is a Native American symbol that represents strength, courage, and protection. It is often use as a symbol of authority and is a sacred animal in many Native American cultures.

What is the Feather?

The Feather is a Native American symbol that represents trust, strength, wisdom, freedom, and honor. It is often use in sacred pieces of Native American wear and is a respected symbol in many Native American cultures.

What is the Arrow?

The Arrow is a Native American symbol that represents protection and defense. It was often used as a literal representation of the bow and arrow weapon, which was used to acquire food for one’s tribe.

What is the Tipi?

The Tipi is a Native American symbol that represents shelter and home. It is often use as a dwelling place and is a prominent figure in Native American culture.

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